How I Lost Almost 30 Pounds Without Going to the Gym

People who haven’t seen me a while often ask if I’ve lost some weight. Known for such phrases “I can’t stop eating!” while in college, I can say that the answer is a resounding yes! Since about 2009, I’ve managed to lose almost 30 pounds, going from about 183 (which my doctor at the time told me qualified as “slightly overweight”) to a present-day 155 (right in the sweet spot of a healthy BMI for me). But I didn’t exactly intend to do that. How in the world did that happen? Here’s a summary of the lifestyle changes I’ve made in the last three years that I think have helped shed those excess pounds:

  1. Around early 2009 or so, I made the decision to stop using cream and sugar in my coffee. Cold turkey. I loved the taste, but realized that dumping all that half and half and pure sucrose into my frequent cups of coffee wasn’t doing me any favors. I’ve been drinking my coffee black ever since.
  2. I started eating primarily whole grain bread instead of processed enriched flour whenever I could. This impacts me especially since I eat a lot of sandwiches. Our homemade sourdough usually uses white flour, but we also sometimes mix in whole wheat flour as well.
  3. I essentially stopped eating at McDonald’s, except for the occasional fries or McChicken (no mayo). But I do mean occasional – I used to eat there pretty frequently, say once a week or so.
  4. I started bringing my lunch, a lot. Like sandwiches every single day at work, so that my co-workers are thrown off when I’m eating something other than a sandwich. No mayo.
  5. From spring to fall in 2009 and 2010, I biked to work occasionally, meaning I would bike in to work one day, and bike home from work the next day. Add in the days I felt lazy and rode the bus instead, that added up to maybe 2 to 3 bike rides across the city a week for those warmer months.
  6. I cut down my soda intake to one regular and one diet soda a week from about 2010 to early 2012. Then, earlier this year as part of a Lent fast, I cut all high fructose corn syrup drinks entirely. That left me with maybe one real sugar soda a week (I also dispensed with the diet sodas), which I’ve now also basically dropped. I’ve continued the high fructose corn syrup fast beyond Easter.
  7. We started a mini farm in our backyard. This has meant lots of digging, plowing, moving dirt, transplanting, building seedling flats, hauling compost bags around, driving in stakes, weeding, watering, and a whole host of other physical activity. No need for a gym here.
  8. We started changing our family diet to include a lot more veggies and real food.

And that’s it! I wasn’t intending to, but I ended up losing a lot of extra weight! I could still use some cardio exercise, but other than that, just a handful of simple lifestyle changes over time led to a good, healthy shift.

Me (with little m) circa January 2009.

Me circa May 2012.

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